China pressed iron ore traders to halt business even before United Nations sanctions

Taiwan concerned by US plan for unfair trade probe against China

Unfortunately, despite China's attempts to soothe the two leaders and keep the peace, all while placating the United States on the sanctions deal, Trump still has plenty of ire with Xi Jinping.

In China, these proposed measures were seen as an attempt to pressure Beijing to act more strongly against North Korea and, at the same time, as an effort to shift the blame for the world's failure to rein in Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs onto China alone.

- North Korea a bargaining chip?

The investigation could take up to a year, according to administration officials, opening the door to a settlement before a possible investigation is launched.

Iron ore cargoes from North Korea usually sell for about 100 yuan a tonne less than those from top suppliers, Australia and Brazil, a third China-based trader who handles iron ore but is not involved in North Korean business said.

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Arguing the threat of conflict is now at its highest since the 1952 Korean War, West said: "When you start giving certain advice to your nationals people start taking notice and maybe China and others will say 'Goodness me, this is really serious'".

China has announced it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and other key goods in three weeks under United Nations sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear program.

Chinese laws require foreign firms in some industries, such as energy and autos, to form joint ventures with local partners, which often results in the transfer of technology to Chinese companies.

Beijing issued the order on Monday. "I think that there is a real risk - by miscalculation, probably, more than anything else - of something happening that no one intends", he told BBC Radio 4.

The Chinese announcement comes days after an increasingly aggressive rhetoric between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But Beijing is increasingly frustrated with Pyongyang and supported a U.N. Security Council ban on August 5 on coal and other key goods.

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The Chinese commerce ministry said on its website that all imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood will be "completely prohibited" from Tuesday.

In an editorial, the state-owned China Daily newspaper said Trump was asking too much of China over North Korea.

CHINA has appointed a new special envoy for the North Korean issue, the foreign ministry said yesterday, naming Assistant Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou.

"But instead of advancing the United States' interests, politicising trade will only acerbate the country's economic woes, and poison the overall China-U.S. relationship".

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